Sheila Sobchik

After recording 23 kills against zero errors and hitting a season-high .590 to help propel the No. 19 Cal Poly volleyball team to its first victory at Pacific in more than 21 seasons, Mustang sophomore outside hitter Kylie Atherstone was named the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I National Player of the Week for the period ending Oct. 22.

Atherstone is the first Mustang to earn the distinction in program history.

The Chico native averaged 7.67 kills per game against the Tigers as Cal Poly defeated Pacific on Oct. 19, 30-24, 30-22, 30-28, to claim the program’s first victory in Stockton since Sept. 27, 1984. Her 23 kills are the most by a Mustang in a three-game match this season.

Two nights later, Atherstone recorded another match-high 16 kills and hit .316 to help Cal Poly to a 30-20, 30-28, 30-28 win at Cal State Northridge. The victory helped establish a new program record for consecutive victories to begin a conference season (8-0), eclipsing the mark set by the 1985 Mustangs.

For the week, the 6-foot-1-inch Atherstone averaged 6.5 kills per game – nearly two kills over her Big West-leading average of 4.45. She also hit .361 and averaged 2.50 digs per game.

Earlier in the day, Atherstone garnered her second Big West Player of the Week award in 2006. She’s the first Big West player to earn national player of the week honors since UC Santa Barbara’s Kristin Nelson nabbed the award Nov. 15, 2004.

The Mustangs, winners of nine straight and bolstered by four-consecutive sweeps, return to Mott Gym for matches against Long Beach State (Friday) and UC Irvine (Saturday). Both contests begin at 7 p.m.

Cal Poly has won nine straight at Mott Gym dating to an Oct. 1, 2005 loss to Long Beach State.

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